Let’s cast our collective minds back a few months when the weather was decidedly warmer and butterflies still flapped about like idiots. When the sun wasn’t just for show and actually had some warmth in it. You remember....back when it was a burny bastard and its purpose was to cook us the minute we nipped out for milk? Well, before the temperature plummeted to somewhere between Artic and Baltic, Flashie and I went off to Lake Tyrrell in Northern Victoria for a bit of a look, and we ended up at Lake Mungo.
Yes alright, I’ll tell you how that happened...
After deciding we could get through a long weekend without the middle class necessities of vitamin water, hemp butter and balsamic kimchi, we packed only the camping gear we actually needed into the car and took off one afternoon with a plan to photograph sunset, full moon and sunrise at Lake Tyrrell. Then we’d spend a day doing the Silo Art Trail in the Wimmera, before setting up a new overnight camp somewhere near the Grampians, and heading home the following day.
What actually happened was we packed 2 minute noodles, assorted snacks and a bottle of Chateau de Disappointment, set up camp at Sea Lake, had a feed and then went out to Lake Tyrrell to find it devoid of water (not completely unexpected) and the sun rapidly sinking towards the horizon. We high tailed it about a kilometre out onto the lake bed, and got set up to take a few photos just as the sun was disappearing. I barely had time to slather on some Odomos (some people are followed around by a film crew, or groupies; I’m followed by mozzies) before it disappeared completely.
And then a big, fat, full moon started to appear on the other side and the sky gradually got darker. And the salt lake gradually got lighter. I guess because it's white. It did eventually get dark though. And we all know what happens when darkness falls....
"Yes, yes", I hear you say. "But that's Lake Tyrrell. You said you went to Lake Mungo. Are you a complete idiot or just a bit confused?"
Calm down, dear reader. I think we've already established that I'm often depriving a village somewhere of its idiot, and there are certainly times when I'm confused. However, this is not one of them...so you'll just have to be patient whilst I bore you with other things. Where was I? Oh yes...
So there we were standing on a salt lake, alone in the darkness, hoping that some weirdo with a penchant for Wolf Creek re-enactments doesn’t front up for a bit of a stoush, happily light painting under a full moon, when a high pitched howl suddenly pierced through the darkness. Flash and I looked at each other and immediately returned howl in unison: double the height and breadth of the initial howl, and guaranteed to send anything packing. Imagine our delight when we received a return howl!
Relax: it's just a bit of fun and games with the village idiots on the other side of the lake.
I'm never worried about people with bad intentions approaching us. Flashie would just act like a Rottweiler with anger management issues and it would be all over for any would-be assailant. She’d give fair warning first though: “any part of you that touches me? You’re not getting it back.”
The following morning we went out in the pre-dawn darkness to the other side of the lake to photograph stuff and generally run amok a bit. The weather forecast was to be around 30C and we figured we'd be driving a fair bit on the Silo Art Trail, so we had a good wander around and quickly racked up 10,000 steps of actual exercise. This meant that we could sit around drinking beer for the rest of the day instead of going anywhere, if we so chose. Life should be about choices.
Somewhere during the course of the morning, we had a conversation that went something like this:
Me: You ever been to Mungo?
Flash: No. What’s Mungo?
Me: Some big sand lake. It’s about an hour out of Mildura.
Flash: How far is Mildura from here?
Me: Coupla hours. It’s in New South Wales.
Me: You know, with it being Easter weekend, we might not get a camp site anywhere near the Grampians after we do the silos.
Flash: That’s true. And it’s a pain to set up again. I’m a bit over it.
Me: Me too. We could go to Mungo for the day, stay here again tonight, and do the silos tomorrow on the way home.
Flash: Perfect! When do we leave?
And so it was that we chose to go to Lake Mungo. After breakfast, of course.
We found a bit of water on the east side of Lake Tyrrell, but the bulk of the place was bone dry. Our drive around the east side saw me channelling Evel Knievel when I realised we were on the track that the Sea Lake Mallee Rally is run on. C'mon ...if there's sand drifts and moguls, you're supposed to floor it!
After much sand-based excitement, we headed back to camp and found the Easter Bunny had been and left us two chocolate eggs. So we had the breakfast of champions - Hot Cross Buns and easter eggs - and then began the long drive to Lake Mungo.
Which I'll tell you about another time.